Kissinger Defends Putin as 'Russian Patriot'

Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State in the Nixon and Ford administrations, defended Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin on Sunday in the face of critics who say his victory in last week's Russian election was tainted by fraud.

Kissinger said that Putin, who he has met more than 20 times during his career, is a "Russian patriot."

"I don't think he's anti-Western,” Kissinger said on Fareed Zakaria's GPS, on CNN. “He is, above all, a Russian patriot who feels humiliated by the experience of the 90s."

He added: "[Putin] is very resentful of what he interprets as intervention in Russian domestic affairs, and even more, of course, in what he may interpret and does interpret as some American tendencies to support his political opponents in order to encourage his overthrow."

Russia has seen a movement in opposition to Putin, who has effectively led the country for 12 years now, spring up across the nation over the past three months, inciting widespread protests and calls for a repeat of December's Russian parliamentary elections. The U.S. has not yet gone so far as to express support for the uprisings, but many of Putin's louder critics come from within the U.S. government.

Kissinger also touched on Iran, seeming to indicate that the country’s nuclear capabilities were more certainty than possibility.

"I think we should start from the premise that they are undergoing all this in order to achieve a military capability. I don't think that is a disputable point," he said. He added that, with such a likelihood in mind, he understood why Israel would want to strike.

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